Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen an influx of personal trainers offering their services online. Couple this with a global pandemic and you get an all-time high of online personal trainers. With so much choice it’s difficult to choose who will make the cut of becoming your online personal trainer. You might think online trainers are difficult to read because you’re not seeing them face to face. But, because all their information is available to view, it makes it a lot easier to distinguish a good from a bad online personal trainer. Granted, all online personal trainers are going to have their own style of working, and individual pros and cons, but there are some key characteristics to good online personal trainers.
Traits Of A “Good” Online Personal Trainer
Like we’ve mentioned, all personal trainers are going to have their unique characteristics. They’ll also have their specialist areas that may be more appropriate for you based on your goals and ambitions. However, there are certain traits all good online personal trainers display.
You are your own person. You have your own goals, lifestyles, experiences, and capabilities. Your diet and nutrition plans should reflect this. A good online personal trainer will take some time to learn a bit about you, your history, and what resources you have available to implement your plans. They will ensure your plans are specific to you and your training needs.
A good example would be someone who takes an initial consultation to find out more about you, your goals, and individual circumstances, way before handing out a diet or nutrition plan. They will take all this information and build an individualised plan. If you’ve mentioned you follow a vegetarian diet, or can’t perform certain movements due to injury, this should be reflected in your plans. If they haven’t accounted for your needs, it’s best to cut ties early.
This is one of the most important traits in my opinion. When you start working with an online personal trainer you want somebody that keeps you accountable and on track towards your goals. There are so many generic workouts and diet plans you could follow, but what makes an online personal trainer special is their ability to motivate and help you adhere to your plans. Therefore, you need to have a trainer with who you’re regularly in contact. If your trainer is checking in on you it can lead to increased adherence and motivation.
Additionally, make sure the communication is two-way. The trainer should ask you how you’re finding the programs, what’s going well, and what’s not working. They should then take this feedback and take action if things need to change. Although this might seem pretty obvious, there are many circumstances where trainers leave the program how it is for its entirety, even if things aren’t working for individuals.
You might be thinking “isn’t communicating the same as connecting”? They’re very similar but have their subtle differences. Communicating is just exchanging words while connecting is really understanding each other. Take a read of these two examples to demonstrate how communication and connection differ.
“I saw you completed your workout, well done. I’ll check in again tomorrow to see how you’re doing. Have a good day”.
“Hey, I noticed you completed your most recent workout. It looks like you really crushed! You noted 80kg on your deadlift, that’s a 5kg PB from last week, amazing work! You’re making great progress and should be proud of your efforts. Keep this up and you’ll see some incredible results by the end of the programme. Let me know if you have any questions or thoughts about the workout”.
Both of these messages are positive, but you can tell the second one is much more personal and makes you feel good about your progress. This is what you want from a trainer. You want to see they’re paying attention and keeping you motivated.
When looking for an online personal trainer research what experience previous clients have had. Look for client testimonials and feedback to determine if they’re able to help you achieve your specific goals. After all, you’ll want to invest in something you know works. When reading through testimonials pay attention to the overall client experience, not just the physical results. While we all enter coaching with a physical goal in mind, we often overlook the journey, and that’s sometimes the most important part.
So, how do you distinguish between a good and bad online personal trainer? Put simply, you want to find somebody who personalises your programmes, and consistently checks in to see how you’re doing while keeping you motivated and accountable. If the boxes aren’t ticked, continue your search.